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Monday, 29 December 2014

Best football quotes of 2014: From Jose Mourinho on Arsene Wenger to Brendan Rodgers and Joey Barton

Players, managers and, let’s face it, anyone associated with football always seem to have something to say about the beautiful game – from hilarious one-liners to legendary quotes that no one will forget in a hurry.
So with the year close to coming to an end, Metro Sport decided to cast our minds back over 2014 to bring you some of the most memorable quotes from footballers and their coaches – with some lines guaranteed to make you chuckle while others are more likely to make you shake your head in disbelief.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Am I afraid of failure? He [Arsene Wenger] is a specialist in failure. I’m not.
So if one supposes he’s right and I’m afraid of failure, it’s because I don’t fail many times. So maybe he’s right. I’m not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure.
Mourinho takes a jibe at Gunners boss Wenger after the Frenchman said Premier League managers were playing down their chances of winning the league last season out of fear of failing.
Hull City owner Assem Allam
They can die as soon as they want.
Allam responds to fans who protested about his plans to change the club’s name to Hull Tigers.
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez
I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent. At that moment I hit my face against the player leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth.
The former Liverpool forward attempts to explain how he ended up biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match in Brazil this summer.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers
I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool.
The Reds manager completely rules out signing the AC Milan striker in early August – before the club ends up finalising a £16million transfer for the Italian later that month.
QPR midfielder Joey Barton
[Javier] Pastore wouldn’t get a beach ball off me if we were locked in a phone box. He’s turd. Anyone who thinks he isn’t is clueless.
Barton gives his thoughts on Paris Saint-Germain’s Pastore after the Argentine scores the opening goal for the French champions against title contenders Monaco in February.
Montpellier president Louis Nicollin
Remy [Cabella], I think he deserves something else than Newcastle. I wouldn’t go there. You must get bored s***less in Newcastle.
The outspoken president of the Ligue 1 club responds to reports linking Cabella to Newcastle in January before the 24-year-old eventually completes a move to the Magpies in the summer.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard
It’s probably been the worst three months of my life.
I’ve seen it [the slip] a few times. I don’t have to watch something like that to go through the pain again and again and again.
Gerrard opens up about his infamous slip against Chelsea last season, which allowed Demba Ba to score in the Blues’ 2-0 win at Anfield – placing a huge dent in Liverpool’s title hopes.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho
The problem with Chelsea is I lack a striker. I have [Samuel] Eto’o but he is 32 years old, maybe 35, who knows?
The Portuguese tactician mockingly questions the Cameroonian’s age in a private conversation with a businessman. Needless to say, it didn’t go down too well with Eto’o.
PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic
England is a very strong league, with three or four of the best teams in Europe, but, if I had played there, I would have destroyed it, like I have everywhere else.
Arsenal could have happened, as everybody knows, but I would not do a trial. Who do you think regrets that more – Arsene Wenger or Zlatan?
The Swedish star comes out with another classic line as he insists he doesn’t regret turning down a chance to go for a trial at Arsenal aged 16, opting to sign for Ajax instead.
Samir Nasri’s girlfriend Anara Atanes
F*** france and f*** deschamps! What a s*** manager!
The Manchester City midfielder’s other half doesn’t react well to the news that Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps has omitted Nasri from his World Cup squad.
Netherlands and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben
Maybe Louis does have a golden willy.
Robben refers to Holland coach Louis van Gaal’s reputation of being lucky after the Dutchman’s substitutions during the team’s World Cup match against Mexico results in a win for the Orange.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp
He’s not injured. He’s not fit. He’s not fit to play football unfortunately. He played in a reserve game the other day and I could have run about more than he did.
I can’t protect people who don’t want to run and train, and are about three stone overweight.
The Hoops coach slams midfielder Adel Taarabt after QPR’s dramatic 3-2 home loss to Liverpool in October.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho
This is not the best league in the world, this is football from the 19th Century.
The only other thing I could bring was a Black and Decker to destroy the wall.
The Blues boss features once again after his side were held to a goalless draw against the Hammers in January.
Source: Metro football

Mourinho picks fight with familiar enemy: referees

In a classic diversionary tactic, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has successfully shifted the Premier League agenda onto the ''campaign'' by referees - in his mind at least - against his players.
With the conveyer belt of Premier League controversies stopping again at players who dive, few are discussing Chelsea's comparative struggles on the road in the Premier League.
Although it's nine wins out of nine at Stamford Bridge, Sunday's 1-1 stalemate at Southampton was Chelsea's fourth away draw - as many as the entire 2013-14 season when Mourinho's homecoming ended in third place.
Chelsea does head into the second half of the season at the Premier League summit. But the lead is flimsier than some pundits anticipated when imprudently issuing premature predictions a month ago that the Blues would run away with the title without losing - just before they did just that at Newcastle.
Mourinho won't tolerate another season without a trophy. Perhaps owner Roman Abramovich will also grow restless again with the Special One.
So an enemy appears useful for Mourinho to create a siege mentality at Chelsea: It's us against the world, or referees at least.
What set Mourinho off this time? Referee Anthony Taylor bookedCesc Fabregas for simulation when the midfielder went down in the penalty area after being caught by Southampton's Matt Targett. It came weeks after Chelsea's Diego Costa and Willian were booked for apparently diving in a win against Hull, whose manager Steve Bruce drew comparisons with the London club and ''Swan Lake''.
''There is a clear campaign against Chelsea,'' Mourinho grumbled on Sunday, believing Taylor was influenced by the previous simulation sanctions.
Expanding on Fabregas' booking, Mourinho said: ''In other countries where I worked before, tomorrow in the sports papers it would be a front-page scandal because it is a scandal.''
It was very different in April 2013 when Mourinho's reign as Real Madrid coach was ending in acrimony and he openly flirted with Chelsea just before sealing his return.
''I know in England I'm loved,'' the Portuguese said in Spain after another Champions League campaign ended prematurely. ''I'm loved by the media that treats me in a fair way, criticizing me but giving me credit when I deserve it.
''I know I'm loved by some clubs, especially one (Chelsea). And in Spain, the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. Many of you are in this room.''
Now the fights are being picked again in England - with referees.
When it's convenient he is their arch advocate, though.
In August 2013 - at the start of his second spell at Chelsea - Mourinho lavished praise on ''English referees, people who love the game and who love to communicate'' following the team's UEFA Super Cup loss to Bayern Munich so as to make his case against a Swedish official seem less vindictive.
Jonas Eriksson is still officiating - unlike compatriot Anders Frisk who retired after receiving death threats from Chelsea fans in 2005. Mourinho had accused the Barcelona coach of trying to influence referee Frisk during halftime of a Champions League game. Along with a touchline ban, Mourinho was accused by UEFA of being ''the enemy of football.''
Mourinho has mellowed slightly. While lambasting Taylor's ''big mistake'' at Southampton, the denunciation was followed by an insistence the referee is a ''good guy, an honest guy.''
If the outcome is referees become wary now of booking Chelsea players for tumbling in the penalty area, and more likely to award penalties instead, Mourinho will undoubtedly deem his outburst a success.
If only referees could defend themselves, with the lifting of the Premier League vow of silence.
''Perhaps it would serve a higher purpose for the referee to attend a press conference with his supervisor alongside him,'' former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson wrote in his recent autobiography, which complains on the next page how he lost European matches against Mourinho's teams ''not because of performance of the players but because of the referee.''
In deploying diversionary tactics, Mourinho has learnt from the master. However, while Ferguson's rants were laced with vitriol, Mourinho's outbursts seem far more calculated and entertaining.
And it was his tantrum being constantly replayed on television on Monday in England, rather than a discussion of his tactics at Southampton.
It may backfire on Mourinho. Despite Taylor's clear mistake in penalizing Fabregas, the sympathies outside Chelsea could well be with the maligned officials - particularly in the refereeing community.

Rojo closing in on Manchester United return

Marcos Rojo insists he cannot wait to return to action for Manchester United after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.

The Argentina defender has not featured for Louis van Gaal's side since December 8 due to a thigh injury, but he has now revealed that he is closing in on a first-team comeback.

United face Stoke City in the Premier League on New Year's Day, before travelling to Yeovil Town in the FA Cup three days later, and Rojo – who has made 10 appearances for the club - hopes to return in time for the club's busy start to 2015.

"Certainly there are a lot of games coming quickly, one after another," he told United Review. "That's what I want, to get fit as quickly as possible so I can lend a hand to the team.

"The manager is going to want as many players as possible for this busy period. It's an important part of the season with so many games in quick succession.

"I've had the misfortune to get injured recently and I really don't like it. It's terrible to miss training and be out of the team. 

"I just hope I can regain my full fitness quickly and it doesn't happen again, as it's never good being injured."

Rojo has suffered two spells on the sidelines since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer, having previously sustained a dislocated shoulder in November.

Source: Goal football

Alan Pardew set to leave Newcastle United for Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew is poised to become the manager of Crystal Palace although talks are continuing over a compensation package with Newcastle United.
Pardew declined to attend post-match interviews after Newcastle’s 3-2 home win against Everton on Sunday, so as to avoid the need to discuss the Palace vacancy.
He has since made it clear to the Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, currently on holiday in Barbados, that he wants to join Palace after growing frustrated at St James’ Park.
Although he is the Premier League’s second longest serving manager at just over four years, Pardew has been severely restricted by the club’s transfer policy and worn down by a growing campaign by a large section of fans to have him removed.
A deal over compensation, understood to be in the region of £2m, looks like a formality. Talks between Ashley and the Palace co-chairman, Steve Parish, took place on Monday afternoon.
Pardew is one of the lowest paid managers in the league and Palace will at least match his salary. His arrival will probably be followed by a bid for the Swansea striker Baf├ętimbi Gomis at around £6m. Palace are away to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.
Source: The Guardian football

Friday, 26 December 2014

Wenger targets title race

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the frantic Christmas schedule can expand the Barclays Premier League title charge beyond a two-horse race.

The Gunners trail leaders Chelsea by 15 points and while it appears to be a straight shootout between Jose Mourinho's side and reigning champions Manchester City, Wenger insists the landscape can change over the next week.
Three games in seven days has convinced Wenger that if Arsenal and those trailing the pacesetters can stitch together a series of results, a new contender could emerge.
"It can still change. Let's see how the schedule goes over Christmas. We'll have a much better idea at the beginning of January," Wenger said.
"The next three or four games are important. Chelsea will be in the fight for the title, for sure, but will it only be Chelsea and Man City?
"Today you can say maybe, but it is still a long way off. Chelsea are in the Champions League, Man City as well.
"Then you have the FA Cup and Chelsea play in the League Cup. There is still a long way to go.
"But what is for sure is that the teams like us and those around us need to be massively consistent to have a chance of coming back."
Arsenal topped the table on January 1 of this year only to finish the season fourth, seven points adrift of City. Wenger denies his team have regressed, however.
"I don't think we have gone backwards in the quality of our squad because if you look at the five players that we bought, you cannot say that one of the five is a failure," Wenger said.
"I can't deny we are behind much more than last year, but we have had a depleted squad since the start of the season and no stability.
"The fact that we got so many important injuries at the back has cost us too much."
Wenger would like to see the Premier League's traditional festive schedule preserved, but has called for the introduction of the type of winter break seen in Germany.
"Maybe it would be good for the English national team to have a break in January. Respect the English tradition and give a winter break in January," he said.
"If you look at the history, is it a coincidence that the German national team has always done well in the big tournaments when England hasn't done so well?
"It is just Germany who has the longest winter break in Europe, among the big countries.
"And by coincidence, they always do well in tournaments because they have refreshed players."
Source: Sporting life

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho apologises to West Ham's Sam Allardyce for STUPID words

The Chelsea boss admits he was stupid to label Big Sam a footballing dinosaur in a bitter war of words last January.
Mourinho felt the West Ham boss was more of a Big Sham after a boring 0-0 draw and laid into Allardyce’s negative tactics.
The flamboyant Chelsea boss accused Allardyce of playing football from the 19th century and publicly blasted his side for cheating, time wasting and feigning injury.
But Mourinho has issued a heartfelt apology to the man he now considers a big pal.
And motormouth Mourinho revealed he is happy to eat some festive humble pie as the two sides meet again, with the new-look Hammers riding high in fourth spot.
The Chelsea boss said he took back his harsh comments, admitting: “Yeah, stupid, silly words.
“Last season I had a couple of words about them. Not about the way they played, about the way they started wasting time after two minutes of the game, which I don’t like.
“But I respect him as a coach. As a person he is a very good guy but as a coach he has a beautiful career.
“I’m happy that he’s doing well with West Ham. I think he deserves respect. He has my respect.”
The two will embrace warmly at Stamford Bridge today in stark contrast to the public fall-out which left Allardyce blazing: “I don’t give a s***e!”
But now Mourinho admits he got it all wrong after Allardyce, who has yet to be offered a new deal, turned the Hammers into a side challenging for a European spot.
Source: Daily star

Torres set for Atletico return

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres is understood to be set for a return move to boyhood club Atletico Madrid, according to Sky sources.
The Spaniard joined AC Milan on a two-year loan deal over the summer but has found the back of the net just once for the Serie A club.
This has prompted speculation that Milan are keen to offload the striker and Sky Sports’ Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague believes a deal for the former Atletico Madrid striker to return to the Vicente Calderon has now been done.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ on Christmas Day, Balague said: “Our understanding is that Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan have reached an agreement for Fernando Torres to go back to Atletico Madrid.
“It was all discussed, negotiated and agreed yesterday. It seems it is all confirmed. We have not received details from the club yet but (Atletico manager) Simeone asked for Fernando Torres three weeks ago.
“In fact, he wanted him in the summer but there was a transfer fee to be paid at that time that Atletico Madrid could not afford. The suggestion is that Chelsea have let him go for free but in any case it seems confirmed that Fernando Torres returns home.”
Torres joined Chelsea from Liverpool for £50m in the 2011 January Transfer Window in the biggest transfer deal involving two English clubs.
The 30-year-old scored 81 goals in 142 appearances on Merseyside but failed to recapture that form for Chelsea, netting 45 times in 172 games prior to his loan move to Milan.
Balague added: “I think Fernando Torres needs to rediscover his love for football. For me that’s the most important thing. He did very well as we all remember at Liverpool but at Chelsea we saw a different Fernando Torres.
“His record was okay was under previous managers to Rafa Benitez. With Rafa Benitez he did well but it became very clear that Jose Mourinho did not have him in his plans.
“After that AC Milan was obviously a great alternative for both the club and himself but it just did not work for either and returning home for me is a way for him to rediscover his love for football.

“He’s wanted by the manager and that is another thing that has not happened in recent years. So all in all I think it is good for Fernando Torres and good for Atletico Madrid.”
Source: Team talk football